Since I haven’t yet conquered the fairy – I decided to detour into another realm and answer the questions Barbara raised to me. Seems to me that they might just be of interest to others:
How do Soldiers pay for stuff when they are at places more remote than Bagram?
There are several alternatives. Cash always works. Eagle Debit card (move money from your pay account to a debit card and back). You can also use a AAFES credit card if you have one or a regular credit card. For obvious reasons, no one in their right mind wants a lot of cash on hand or to use a credit card (high potential for fraud).
How do they get money?
US Military Finance Office – I am assuming you mean cash rather than money in general.
If they buy from a local vendor, do they get local currency through their base, or are the Afghanis happy to get dollars? but then do the insurgents search their homes for dollars?
Each bases makes their own call – most operate in $ complete with audited sign in logs. At the end of the day the $ are turned in for local currency. Every effort is made to avoid US cash leaving the base.
How are Soldiers paid altogether?
The military went to mandatory electronic payment years ago. Direct deposit to bank of one’s choice. Doesn’t matter where in the world you are – you get paid by direct deposit and on time.
Active duty can, through the finance system, set allotments so that certain monthly payments get sent directly from the gov to whoever needs to get paid. Obvious examples are child support and alimony which then get paid directly. Reserve and Guard personnel have issues here – they do not have the ability to do allotments. Not a problem normally, as long as you are somewhere that you can do on-line banking or you were smart enough to set up standing payments with your home bank.
do their families at home receive e-payment?
See above – families are not paid – the soldier is paid. A soldier in a remote area where there is no finance is going to have a real problem getting cash to buy a money order to put in the mail to send home. This falls into the “not good planning.” And there is a lot of education about this ahead of time. Doesn’t always sink in.
I remember reading on anysoldier.com about Soldiers at a small base where they said they hadn’t been paid because of difficulty reaching them, but then a PX-type truck came around and they couldn’t buy what they needed.
Yah, well – that is why there is a debit card which can be loaded with as much or as little as someone needs. Don’t know if the trucks have the Eagle Machines. Will find out.
are dollars used on most bases? Is it all electronic? How about at multi-national bases?
US Bases use dollars. Most of the ISAF bases use $ and Euros. The only place I can think of that would only use Pounds Sterling would be a British only base (and I can’t think of that many of those).
The idea is to have the minimum amount of cash on hand. It is cheaper to move money electronically; it is less likely to be subject to fraud and theft. As England and the EU have been doing for a long time – Chip-in-Pin cards are the way to go. Even the US post office only takes cash and the Eagle card. It does not take either checks or credit cards.
If there are any other “daily life” kind of questions – please ask and I will do my best.
Good questions, and great answers. It’s pretty much standard operating procedure for the military . . . going back even before Vietnam. I’ve spoken with several mature and prepared troops (both Army and Air Force) who were briefed about having their pay go to a US banking institution. The same institution had issued credit/debit cards, and married folks had spouses on the accounts as well. As you stated in an earlier message, there’s not a whole lot of items one would want to purchase and ship from there . . . most of the goodies should be going to troops at that end. Stay safe and healthy.
the challenge is really for reserve and guard who are in locations with little to no Internet connection and can’t do allotments. Hard to do on-line banking. Most serious issues are actually for those who are single and have no one else to pay their bills.